Pak Wins In Homeland

By Sports NetworkOctober 27, 2002, 5:00 pm
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea -- Se Ri Pak carded an even-par 72 Sunday to win the Sports Today CJ Nine Bridges Classic. Pak finished at 3-under-par 213, six shots ahead of Carin Koch after a final round of cold and wind.
Mhairi McKay and Lorie Kane finished tied for third at 5-over-par 221. Annika Sorenstam was one shot further back at 6-over-par 222 alongside Danielle Ammaccapane.
'From my practice time this morning, I knew it was going to be very difficult,' said Pak, who pocketed $225,000 for the win. 'And it was very cold as well. But obviously, after winning today, it was easy! I feel good.'
The strong winds and cold temperatures that made scoring soar during the second round remained at The Club at Nine Bridges. Pak, who struggled with a 76 on Saturday, found trouble out of the gate with a bogey at the par-3 second.
Pak settled down from that point on and drained a 12-foot putt for birdie at the ninth. She faltered with a bogey at the 11th but responded with a birdie at the very next hole.
The 25-year-old stumbled again with a bogey at the 14th but just as before she countered with a birdie at the following hole. Pak then parred the remaining holes to post a comfortable victory to the delight of the local fans.
'It was a great tournament,' said the Korean, who earned her 18th career victory on the LPGA Tour. 'There is always a lot of pressure coming back to Korea to play golf. I kind of just freed my mind and it feels really great to win this tournament.'
Pak earned her second straight victory on the LPGA Tour. She captured the Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions two weeks ago and now has five titles to her name in 2002.
Koch posted a 1-over 73 during the final round for a total of 3-over-par 219.
'It was very tough out there, very, very cold,' said Koch. 'I'm very happy with my round, especially in these conditions. On the first tee today, I could only have dreamed of shooting 1-over par.'
Sorenstam, who needed a win at this event to keep her hopes of matching Mickey Wright for most victories in a single season on the LPGA Tour alive, was five shots back to start the final round and saw her chances vanish with four bogeys over the first five holes.
The Swede managed two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine for a round of 76.
Woo-Soon Ko finished alone in seventh at 7-over-par 223. She was followed by Suzanne Strudwick, Rachel Teske and Jill McGill at 8-over-par 224.
Grace Park, Mi Hyun Kim and Leta Lindley finished tied for 11th at 10-over-par 226.
Final scores from the Sports Today CJ Nine Bridges Classic
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.